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Hispanic Heritage

National Puerto Rican Day of New York


In early June each year since the 1950s, the streets of New York City throng with participants in a festival of Puerto Rican pride. The parade runs from 44th to 86th Street, slowing traffic in surrounding streets to a crawl as people from all over the country jam the sidewalks, waving Puerto Rican flags in a massive celebration of the island's heritage.

Each year the fesitivites have been growing. In 1999, 3 million people turned out to see the parade. Superstar Jennifer Lopez was parade marshal, joined by co-marshalls salsa star Tito Puente and baseball Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. Many other notables appeared, including hip hop legend Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and an impressive array of New York politicians and political hopefuls, enjoying the festivies as they courted the significant Puerto Rican vote.

In 1998, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliano proclaimed June 7 to June 14 "Puerto Rican Week" in New York.

Activities for you to try:

Discover Nuyorican!

New York City has the largest population of Puerto Rican people of any city outside of Puerto Rico itself. Puerto Ricans living in New York City have developed a rich culture drawn from many influences: from folk and popular traditions, such as traveling poets, storytellers, salsa music and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, as well as the hustle and bustle of the city itself. In the 1960s and 1970s, a group of Puerto Rican poets and playwrights known as the Nuyoricans became part of a movement to raise awareness of Puerto Rican culture. They met at the Nuyorican Poets' Café on the Lower East Side of New York, which was founded in 1974 and is still going strong today. At your local library, read the works of some of these Nuyorican poets:

  • Victor Hernández Cruz
  • Tato Laviera
  • Miguel Piñero
  • Miguel Algarín

Or check out anthologies of Nuyorican poetry, and choose your own favorites:

  • Nuyorican Poets Café edited by Miguel Algarín with Bob Holman. Henry Holt, 1994.
  • Los Paraguas amarillos/Los poetas latinos en New York edited by Ivan Silen, Bilingual Review Press.

Also look for the popular Nuyorican novelist Nicholasa Mohr. Her novels include:

  • Nilda (1973)
  • El Bronx Remembered (1975)
  • In Nueva York (1977)
  • Going Home
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